Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ILO sees 'positive trend' in garment industry

ILO sees 'positive trend' in garment industry

ILO sees 'positive trend' in garment industry

Cambodia's garment factories are guilty of a wide range of abuses but have overall

demonstrated "a positive trend" on labor rights, according to the International

Labour Organisation's latest quarterly report on working conditions.

The Fourth Synthesis Report on the Working Conditions Situation in Cambodia's Garment

Sector reported evidence of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, forced overtime,

unpaid work and anti-union discrimination in some factories. On the plus side it

found no evidence of child labor or forced labor.

The team visited 65 factories employing almost 76,000 workers, around 90 percent

of whom are women. The ILO has monitored the country's garment factories for the

past year - a condition of factories being allowed to export clothes to the US is

that the country upholds certain minimum working conditions.

Ray Chew, a board member of the Garment Manufacturers' Association of Cambodia, declined

to comment ahead of the report's official release in early October.

The report noted there were some illegal strikes, but said strike action was confined

to a minority of factories. Of the 65 factories monitored, there had been no industrial

action at 48 of them in the past year. Strikes in the others were spurred by issues

such as the dismissal of a shop steward, the firing of those workers who complained,

and late payment of wages.

The ILO noted that some improvements had been made in the time between the issuing

of draft recommendations and discussions between the ILO and management at the factories.

"[These changes are] certainly encouraging and provide a foundation for optimism

that improvements will continue to be made before the next report," it stated.

The non-payment of correct wages remained one of the biggest problems, with "indications

that the workers did not receive the wages they were entitled to" in 57 factories.

Unfair deductions for production mistakes, replacement of tools, or breaching company

rules was a common problem. Workers complained of forced overtime in 42 factories.

Union activity was tolerated in most factories, whose workers reported no discrimination

against unions. However in 12 factories union leaders were dismissed, demoted or

otherwise penalized for union activity. In one factory a union leader was prevented

from undertaking his union duties then attacked by unknown assailants outside his

house.

Among the other problems were that workers were hampered from exercising their right

to organize freely in 16 factories. Workers at one factory were fired for trying

to set up a union branch; those at another eight said they were afraid even to try.

On the issue of sick pay and maternity leave the report found mixed results: sick

leave was not paid in more than half the factories, despite that being illegal.

Maternity leave was provided in 19 factories, with three factories actually exceeding

the requirements of the law. However the team heard complaints in one factory that

some pregnant workers were forced to resign.

Under the law factories with more than 100 female employees are required to establish

a nursing room and day care center, but 56 factories were found to provide neither.

The garment industry is the country's largest industrial employer with more than

200,000 workers, mostly young women.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hong Kong firm done buying Coke Cambodia

    Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, on November 25 announced that it had completed the acquisition of The Coca-Cola Co’s bottling business in Cambodia, as part of its ambitions to expand into the Southeast Asian market. Swire Coca-Cola affirmed

  • Cambodia's Bokator now officially in World Heritage List

    UNESCO has officially inscribed Cambodia’s “Kun Lbokator”, commonly known as Bokator, on the World Heritage List, according to Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona in her brief report to Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of November 29. Her report, which was

  • NagaWorld union leader arrested at airport after Australia trip

    Chhim Sithar, head of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees at NagaWorld integrated casino resort, was arrested on November 26 at Phnom Penh International Airport and placed in pre-trial detention after returning from a 12-day trip to Australia. Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge

  • Angkor Beer, 30 Years of Prestige and Still Counting

    Let’s celebrate 30 years of prestige with Angkor Beer. In this 2022, Angkor Beer is 30 years old and has been staying with Cambodian hearts in all circumstances. Head of core beer portfolio, EmYuthousaid, “We have been with Cambodians for three decades now. We, ANGKOR Beer, pride

  • Sub-Decree approves $30M for mine clearance

    The Cambodian government established the ‘Mine-Free Cambodia 2025 Foundation’, and released an initial budget of $30 million. Based on the progress of the foundation in 2023, 2024 and 2025, more funds will be added from the national budget and other sources. In a sub-decree signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen

  • Two senior GDP officials defect to CPP

    Two senior officials of the Grassroots Democratic Party (GDP) have asked to join the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), after apparently failing to forge a political alliance in the run-up to the 2023 general election. Yang Saing Koma, chairman of the GDP board, and Lek Sothear,